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#43 - Sprinkler Gauges: Know Your Sprinkler System is Ready for Action

Posted by Jason Hugo & Cameron Sharp on 4/22/2016 to Fire Sprinkler System Components
Fire sprinklers operate during a fire’s early stages to suppress and control flames, making them critical in the fight against commercial and residential fires. However, it is the sprinkler gauge – air or water pressure gauges installed at various points throughout the system – which provides building owners and firefighters an easy, visual way to prove the system has an adequate supply of water. Sprinkler gauges are the only way to assure that your single-most important ally in fighting fires is in working condition and geared up for battle. 

This blog will discuss what to look for when purchasing sprinkler gauges, including the necessary certifications required by most building codes. It also outlines how to ensure your current gauges are working correctly, what parts are needed to install a sprinkler gauge in a new sprinkler system, and ends with some great fire sprinkler gauge options. Looking to purchase high-quality sprinkler gauges? Browse our complete sprinkler gauge selection.

Fire sprinkler systems utilize multiple sprinkler gauges to monitor either the air or water pressure required for adequate system performance during an emergency. Due to the ‘always on’ nature of a fire sprinkler system, sprinklers gauges are almost permanently under pressure. As such, these gauges must be able to stand up to the constant strain placed on them while consistently providing precise and accurate pressure readings. 

Recognizing the importance of quality fire sprinkler gauges, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), in their role as the benchmark setter for the fire protection industry, require sprinkler gauges to have both Underwriters Laboratory (UL) and Factory Mutual (FM) Approvals. While NFPA standards are not mandatory in and of themselves, most jurisdictions (e.g., city or state regulators) adopt and enforce their recommendations through building codes. 

Underwriters Laboratory (UL) is a global safety science company with over 100 years of experience testing and certifying the safety of manufactured goods. Nearly every electrical appliance you own contains the UL logo! FM, on the other hand, is an insurance company that specializes in loss prevention. An FM approval seeks to guarantee not only the safety of the product but also its reliability. Through scientific research and testing, both organizations make sure products adhere to widely-respected standards for safety and property loss prevention. These certifications provide building owners, contractors, firefighters, and regulators peace of mind. Sprinkler gauges that meet NFPA standards by carrying UL and FM approvals can be trusted to perform when reliability is needed most. 

For sprinkler gauges, error-free performance is what counts most. As previously mentioned, most localities require sprinkler systems to comply with NFPA standards. Because of this, periodic inspection and maintenance is a must. These standards require property owners – most often, through licensed contractors - conduct annual maintenance and inspection of their building’s sprinkler systems. Things to look for when inspecting sprinkler gauges include noticeably inaccurate pressure readings, fluttering gauge pointers, and leaks in or around the gauge. 

Installing a fire sprinkler gauge in a brand new sprinkler system requires more than the gauge alone. Usually, a ¼ inch 3-way valve combined with a ¼ inch x 0-3 nipple, ¼ inch plug, and the gauge itself are all required. Conveniently, here at QRFS, we offer a sprinkler gauge kit that comes complete with all four items bundled together. The sprinkler gauge within the kit, as you’ve probably guessed, carries both UL and FM approvals and has a 3.5-inch dial housed in a beautiful stainless steel case. It measures in both pounds per square inch (PSI) and Pascal unit (kPa), or in other words both water and air pressure. Don’t need the kit? No problem, it’s available as a stand-alone gauge as well!

Ashcroft Sprinkler Gauge for Wet Sprinkler Systems

QRFS also carries UL and FM approved air and water gauges made by Ashcroft, the world's largest and most trusted gauge manufacturer. The key differentiator for any Ashcroft gauge is their technology, including PowerFlexTM movement which reduces pulsation and vibration, extending the gauge’s life while minimizing maintenance costs. Regardless of which gauge you choose, QRFS will always provide you with superior customer service and extremely fast shipping!

Sprinkler gauges regulate the most important and effective firefighting resource a building has outside of the local fire department: fire sprinklers. Without properly certified and accurate gauges the safety of building occupants and the property itself is at greater risk of damage due to fire. Life is precious, so the take the time to protect it properly. Procure UL and FM approved fire sprinkler gauges today by clicking the link below.

This blog originally posted by Jason Hugo and Cameron Sharp at QRFS.com/blog on April 22, 2016. If you like what you've read, check us out at Facebook.com/QuickResponseFireSupply or on Twitter @QuickRsponseFS.

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